What to Consider When Incorporating LCDs into High-IK-Rated Applications

Integrating an LCD into a product that requires a high IK rating involves meticulous planning and selection of robust materials. High-IK-rated environments demand LCDs that can endure mechanical shocks, extreme temperatures, and environmental hazards. This article will dissect the intricacies of designing LCDs for high-IK applications, focusing on impact resistance, material selection and other related considerations. We will scrutinize the durability of various materials like ruggedized glass and polycarbonate overlays, their impact on LCD performance in high-IK rated environments and we will brush on compliance with IP ratings to safeguard against water and dust ingress.

Understanding IK Ratings: A Metric for Impact Resistance

IK ratings, as defined in the international standard IEC 62262, offer a measure of protection an enclosure provides against external mechanical impacts. Ratings range from IK00, offering no protection, to IK10, which can withstand an impact of up to 20 joules. Below is a brief overview of IK ratings 6 – 10:


Measurement: The impact of a 250g object dropped from 400 mm above the impacted surface.

Real-World Implication: Suitable for residential or light commercial use where minimal impact is expected, such as in a home office.


Measurement: The impact of a 350g object dropped from 400 mm above the impacted surface.

Real-World Implication: Suitable for general commercial use, like in retail stores or office buildings, where some level of durability is beneficial but high impact resistance is not critical.


Measurement: The impact of a 500g object dropped from 400 mm above the impacted surface.

Real-World Implication: Common in industrial settings or educational institutions but not recommended for high-risk or outdoor environments.


Measurement: The impact of a 1kg object dropped from 200 mm above the impacted surface.

Real-World Implication: Used in public spaces like subway stations, airports, or anywhere devices might be subject to moderate impacts or vandalism.


Measurement: The impact of a 5kg object dropped from 400 mm above the impacted surface.

Real-World Implication: Ideal for military, outdoor industrial settings, or any high-risk environment requiring maximum protection against mechanical impact.

Protecting your LCD based on IK rating

Incorporating an Overlay onto your LCD

IK06-IK08: At this level, standard LCD materials may suffice, but it is recommended that at a minimum, a basic polycarbonate overlay is incorporated for added protection. Depending on other requirements, a ruggedized cover glass layer may be recommended though.

IK09-IK10: Ruggedized glass or specialized polycarbonate overlays are highly recommended. These materials provide high impact resistance while maintaining clarity and touch sensitivity. For the strongest possible solution, an extremely high strength glass combined with a specialized bonding procedure such as OCA is recommended. Common choices such as Asahi Dragontrail glass or Corning Gorilla Glass are available, however, it is best to discuss with an LCD expert prior to deciding on the best material.

Here is an LCD Resource with more information on in choosing a cover glass for your display design.

Protecting your Protector?

In some cases, once you have chosen the best solution for your high-IK rated device with a specialized cover glass, you will want to protect your LCD’s cover glass from scratches, chips, and cracks over long term use. In this event a specialized film or protector can be applied to ensure the longevity of your cover glass. This item can protect your LCD + cover glass assembly over time and can be replaced in the field when necessary. These specialized films can also help in meeting requirements that may revolve around the shattering of a glass for special certifications such as FDAMSHAUL or CE Certifications.

Incorporating Shock Absorption for Enhanced Durability

When designing an LCD for high-IK-rated applications, shock absorption mechanisms are not just an add-on but a necessity. While material selection and build quality lay the foundation, a well-executed shock absorption strategy can dramatically enhance the LCD’s resilience to mechanical impacts.

Common Methods:

With LCDs, the typical approach involves the use of specialized gaskets and foam adhesives strategically placed within the assembly. For instance, when utilizing an oversized cover glass, a dense closed-cell foam can serve dual purposes—adhering the LCD assembly to the device and providing a cushion against direct impacts or drop-tests. If an oversized cover glass is not part of your design, consider incorporating foam adhesives at the back of the display or any point where the LCD assembly contacts the product enclosure.

Extending Shock Absorption:

Don’t limit shock absorption to just the LCD assembly. Implementing this feature in other areas of the enclosure can further minimize the force reaching the LCD. For instance, a rubber gasket between any contacting parts of the enclosure can distribute shock throughout the product, thereby offering an additional layer of protection to the LCD.

IP Rating Synergy:

Careful incorporation of these shock absorption methods can also contribute to achieving your desired IP rating, offering a dual advantage of impact and environmental resistance. Please refer to our posts about designing an LCD for use in an application for any IP ratings for further information.

Design Considerations:

It’s crucial to validate your shock absorption choices through rigorous testing, ensuring they meet the specific IK and IP requirements for your application. These will often be later required by the certification body, and it can be best to do thorough internal testing prior to that stage to ensure your design is failsafe.

Conclusion: Achieving Resilience Through Informed Design

Incorporating an LCD into a high-IK-rated application is a multifaceted challenge that requires meticulous planning and a deep understanding of both mechanical and environmental stressors. From deciphering the real-world implications of different IK ratings to selecting the most suitable materials and implementing effective shock absorption strategies, each decision plays a critical role in the product’s overall durability and performance.

It is about meeting and exceeding industry standards to provide a robust and reliable solution for demanding environments. By paying close attention to each aspect—from material selection and impact resistance to shock absorption and IP rating compliance—you can design an LCD that not only withstands the rigors of high-IK applications but also meets the user’s expectations of reliability and functionality for years to come.

The best designs are planned first, then produced and then validated through rigorous testing and continuous improvement, aligned with the ever-evolving needs of high-IK-rated applications. Your LCD doesn’t just have to survive in challenging conditions, it should thrive, delivering optimal performance day in and day out.

The best designs are often the result of collaborative effort and expert consultation. Our team of LCD experts is here to assist you in tailoring the LCD design to fit the unique demands of your application. Contact us to discuss your high-IK rated LCD design as it pertains to your product today.